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I heard the complaint again today. The local police are not responding. The crime was a theft of a deposit from the safe of a small restaurant. An officer took a report and then – nothing! Calls to the department went unanswered. This scenario unfortunately is repeated more and more frequently and no portion of the country is worse or better than another regarding the responsiveness of law enforcement. Calls for service for most police departments are rising rapidly and the resources to respond are limited.

So, how does your incident get priority? Let’s first keep in mind that everyone calling for police service thinks their issue is a priority. The theft of a deposit is a priority to you. After all, the cash loss puts a serious dent in your profitability. But to the police a theft is not all that important in their grand scheme of things. There are ways, however, of receiving priority attention to your incident.

Here’s the secret code:

  1. If the crime is internal as in the case of your stolen deposit, help your cause by having a finite number of suspect(s). If an employee opened the locked safe, supply the names of who had access. Of course, the combination/PIN code had been changed after the last manager left the company and the new one is only known by a few. Right?
  2. When the theft is reported to the police, obtain the case number that is assigned. There will be one.
  3. Wait a few days for the report to be assigned to a property crimes detective. Call the police department and ask for the property crimes section.
  4. When transferred furnish the case number and ask for the name of the detective assigned to your case.
  5. Ask to speak to the detective assigned or if unavailable leave a message that you have “additional information” to share and to return your call, preferably to a number that is connected to you personally.
  6. The “additional information” is the list of persons with access to the safe, video footage (if available), electronic printouts of those entering the safe (if applicable), extraneous information, who you suspect, etc.
  7. If the detective does not return your call after 2-3 days, repeat #5. If your calls are repeatedly unreturned, ask for the supervisor of the detective division.
  8. When the detective returns your call, ask to meet personally with him/her and schedule a date, time, and place and share your “additional information”.
  9. When meeting with the detective, ask questions about his/her process and how you can help resolve the mystery.
  10. If they want to interview certain employees, provide the employee(s) schedules to the detective. Ask when the detective might schedule an interview with the employee(s). Make certain to provide additional supervision in the restaurant and relieve the employee/manager of any work duty and responsibilities while being interviewed.
  11. If the interview is to be conducted in the restaurant, provide a quiet place out of earshot of other employees and customers where they won’t be disturbed.

Keep in mind that the detective assigned to your case has many others to investigate. He or she will prioritize and pursue the ones most likely to be solved quickly. Help them do that with yours and you will get their attention, time, effort and hopefully a successful resolution.

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D. B. "Libby" Libhart
D.B. “Libby” Libhart has more than 30 years of experience in the loss prevention industry. He has provided security and safety leadership in retail settings such as department stores, drug stores and quick-service restaurants. Before launching his own company, LossBusters, Libby served as the Senior Director of U.S. Security and Safety for McDonald’s Corp. He entered the QSR industry with Taco Bell and subsequently YUM Brands.
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